Dion Summers “Power Play List Exclusive” Quote

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Dion Summers “Power Play List Exclusive” – Vice President, Urban Programming at SiriusXM

Kevin: Right. What is your exact job at Sirius XM? 

Dion: I am VP of Urban Music Programming

Kevin: Okay. What does that entail? 

Dion: So basically, I’ve got a team of eight programmers who directly report to me about the programming, the music selection, the talent selection, the marketing promotion of their radio stations. 

I directly program one of the stations and I am a player coach. I directly program The Heat, which is our flagship, mainstream hip-hop and R&B station. And then, we’ve got 13 other brands that play hip-hop, R&B, gospel, classic hip-hop, current hip-hop, classic R&B, current R&B, Afro beats. We have a few artists targeted stations curated by Kirk Franklin, LL Cool J. Drake. And I oversee the programming team that builds and maintains those radio stations.

Kevin: I was going to ask that question too. When I see like LL Cool J has a station, does he actually come in? How does that work? 

Dion: Let me tell you, because people ask me that question a lot. Like, every artist is different in how they engage with the radio station. LL Cool J is that rare jewel, Kevin, where he is so in the weeds on his radio station. When we built Rock the Bells radio, and we flew out to LA to visit him and his team about six times over the course of about four months, right, some back to back weekends, where I would literally get on a plane, get off in LA, go right to the conference room, be there all day, then leave, on a red eye back to the east coast. 

And when this guy goes song by song, every single song was vetted by him. Yes, no, maybe come back to it. You know, every single song, every production piece, every specialty program, he is so involved in the running of that radio station to the point where if he hears a song that he knows he didn’t vet, he’ll make a call on it.

Like, he’s that laser-focused on his brand. And I love it. Like, as a fan, you knew the guy. Obviously, he was smart; he wouldn’t be where he is if he wasn’t. But his attention to detail is like second to none. So every artist is different.

He and Kirk [Franklin] are similar in the sense that he very much is into the curation of his music and the songs that are played on Praise (Channel 64), but he is not as involved in the imaging aspect in the production aspect of it. But very, very linked musically to like making sure that every song on Praise kind of reflects himself, and that we’re playing hits, and are appealing to a younger audience, but by the same token, not leaving out the … (read more in the issue Power Play List 2022)

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